Cripple

Cripple: (n) a person who is disabled or impaired in any way:

Webster considers the word “cripple” to be offensive.

I wonder if we have reached a point in our play-it-safe-society where, in trying to pursue what we might refer to as neutral language, we’ve actually ended up becoming more offensive by pointing out that this particular language which we now eschew is forbidden because the people it refers to are constantly perceived as underdogs.

Honestly, I never gave the first thought about someone in a wheelchair until I found myself in one.

I suppose I assumed that they were paralyzed, or perhaps had been so stricken by disease that they were unable to stand and walk.

Certainly, my training as a good Midwestern Christian let me know that such individuals required healing, and if Jesus were really here, he would quickly get them back on their feet.

But you see, what is really offensive is believing that because a person can’t walk, he or she is less than someone who can, and therefore we must be careful not to offend them with some misused term.

After all, there was a time when the word “retarded” to the average person meant exactly the same thing in exactly the same spirit as the word “challenged.”

Is it less vicious to call someone challenged than to call him or her retarded?

I don’t know and neither do you. We just follow the temporary whim of society’s need to imitate inclusion.

Then again, the “N word,” which is now considered to be abominable, was derived from the romance languages. For in Latin, the word “black” is “niger.” In Spanish, it is “negra.” Perhaps that’s where they came up with the “N word.”

What is offensive is a condescending belief that we must defend people because we have decided they are incapable of speaking for themselves. Is that not truly the most prejudiced thing that we can possibly do?

So if you come to see me and you want to find out what difficulty I’m having with my legs, you can relax.

Because crippled, weakened, impaired, challenged, hobbled or blessed all sound basically the same to me.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Characteristic

Characteristic: (adj) typical of a particular person, place, or thing.

You have to be pretty bad to not want to be a good person.

Most people prefer angel wings to devil claws. We may view ourselves as being dangerous–until we realize we really like to play it safe.

What’s missing is the listing of the characteristics required to put a “good” in front of your “person”–making you priceless to the human tribe.

I’m sure everybody could derive a list, and each lineup would have its own merit, but may I offer mine?

Let’s call it the top five things that make our race tolerable instead of insufferable:

  1. Humility

Of course, you don’t get to be humble until you do something great, but once you have an accomplishment, the quality of the endeavor should be enough without demanding too much laud from others or indulging in self-worship.

  1. Self-correction

The best way to be annoying to other friends in your circle is to be the last one to realize you have a problem. Of course, there’s a danger with incriminating yourself too much, but most of us will never get near that cliff.

If you can see your shortcomings, you don’t have to go through the pain of being alienated because of them.

  1. Change

Stop being part of the unrealistic horde which insists that “change is too hard.”

Everything has come through evolution, so it is safe to assume that the process is continuing right now, in your life.

So change before you are forced to, or before you’re lying flat on your back because the cosmic steamroller just flattened your dreams.

  1. Don’t judge under any circumstances.

Even if it’s late at night, you’re with a friend and you’re in the mood to gossip–don’t. Go to bed and get some sleep.

You and I never have the right to evaluate the lives of other people. Even if an angel comes and whispers in your ear, telling you of the iniquity of another traveler, you should compliment the angel on its wings, but ignore the message.

  1. Good cheer.

There are times that depression and sadness overtake us all–but as much as is within us, we should allow the paint brush of gratitude to be the artist of our portrait. It makes us viable–and more than that, it makes us reliable.

There you go. One man’s limited scope in describing the characteristics of a good person.

In my opinion, all you have to do to become a bad person is look at the list and insist “it’s a free country, and nobody’s business but your own.”

 

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Athwart

Athwart: (prep) in opposition or counter to.dictionary with letter A

I don’t want to be spooky.

I am not one of those fellows who finds God in every flower or a demon under every rock, but occasionally I have to admit, there are certain attitudes that permeate our society which seem to have been blown in by a wicked specter.

Maybe it’s because I find them dangerous, but more than likely, the reason these particular trends concern me is how quickly they inundate the thinking of the populace.

The one that comes to my mind, which seems to have become very popular in the past 15 to 20 years is the notion that we prove our intelligence by being negative.

Everyone wants to be a critic.

The trouble with critics is that when everyone is doing it, it is no longer a mere critique, but rather, eliminating the energy for creative ideas.

It’s scary to be creative.

Even as I write this essay, I have to be hyper-vigilant about grammar, detail, accuracy, length and form. Some of this is good, but the amount dumped on us is a burden that discourages experimenting with good ideas to see if they’re great.

At any moment, you can offer a suggestion and there is a multitude of nay-sayers standing nearby–to make these inclinations athwart.

Yes, they are fully prepared to explain in vivid and often vicious detail how stupid you are for your assertion. So the end result is a generation that plays it safe while simultaneously feeling no safety.

It will take courageous people chancing that their efforts may be ridiculed, but still proclaiming their thoughts, to overcome this mob mentality of merciless menacing.

My contribution is two-fold:

  • I will continue to create.
  • I choose not to take what is created in front of me athwart.

 

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